All the Children, both from the Academy and Secondary Schools merged at the Head office from where they headed for the Prisons. They were all filled with excitement and this was shown by the smiles they wore on their faces.
Highlights in Luzira Upper Prison
The excitement that filled the room as parents hugged their children, prayed and served them food portrayed apparently that children and parents look forward to this visit. The blissful mood was not only witnessed by WOH Staff, but also by the Prison Officers as one of them exclaimed “wow this is good!”
The inmates expressed gratitude to Wells of Hope for this opportunity to directly interact and have fairly more time with their children. “This is something that other inmates who are not beneficiaries from the Organization envy,” one of the inmates stated.
The inmates thanked the organization for making this visit a success. The teachers had sheets of paper with the children’s performance that were shown to the parents. All parents were happy with their children’s results, encouraged them to aim high and thanked the staff at the Academy for the great work done. From the interactions with some of the parents, they prayed that God blesses Wells of Hope abundantly and that He sends more people to support the organization’s work; a Parent said, “my children look healthy may God reward all of you.” . Another Parent stated, “I look forward to this day because it is only my children who visit me and that keeps me going and hopeful.”
One of the responsibilities of a parent which is to provide for the child was not forgotten by these inmates. Every child had something to carry back to school ranging from letters of encouragement, jerry cans of juice, sweets, biscuits, chapattis, to mention, but a few. It was a few hours of exercising the right to be involved in their children’s lives and the children feeling loved but was worth it.
Unlike the previous visits where the inmates would see their children from the different sections in Upper prison (Condemn and Boma); this time round it was different. Two rooms and a corridor were set aside to be used for the visit by all the inmates.
Asia (a 4 year old girl) once told her mum that she wanted to take an apple and hand it over to her daddy. Despite the fact that she did not have an apple, Asia was able to go and hand him a cake; she hugged him, touched him and played with him.
Hidadi (14 year old boy and in Primary Seven) was encouraged by his father Gadaffi (an inmate on Death Row) that he will make it. His daughter had sent him an encouragement letter which he appreciated a lot, he promised her that she should be strong since he will be released soon.
On seeing his children, Edson exclaimed, “Look at my girl Lious, see how beautiful she is, look at her chics, and remember the first time you brought her to visit, there is a big difference!”He was so happy about his children’s performance and general well-being.
When Okello Charles saw his son, he ran and gave him a big hug, while talking with him he encouraged him to be a good boy, listen to he’s teacher and always to pray to God .He also told him about the challenges his mother is facing that she was no longer working because she got an accident and all her items were stolen from the shop.
Luzira Women Prison
Five Children visited their Parents in the Prison under%on. They were welcomed by the Officer in Charge who called the inmates. The visit started from 12pm to 3pm. The Parents of the Children were happy to see their children and this was evident on theirher hugs and kisses. They sat down with their children shared food stuff as they discussed about their children’s’ life styles.
The WOH Staff had a one on one moment with the Parents and they (inmates, children and staff) from Wells of Hope had a joint closing prayer followed by hugs as the children were leaving the prison and the inmates back to their wards.
The highlights of the visit were: an encouragement to the Children given by one of the Parents as she talked about self esteem and emphasized direct eye contact; the zealousness of the inmates that is, they were full of hope, excitement and courage which teach us to always have hope whatever the circumstances and the warm welcome shown by the Parents to their children shows parental love for their children.
On arrival, Seven Children and WOH Staff were welcomed by the Welfare Officer Prison and the Orderly Officer of the Prison. From the Women’s Section of the Prison, it was easy for the Mothers to tell that their Children had arrived and as soon as they (the Children) had reached the checking point, the Orderly Officer ushered the Children’s Parents to her Office which acted as the visiting room. Accompanied by Miss Bernadette, Peter and Lucy the Children were ushered into the visiting room to meet their Parents. The Children and their Parents were very excited to see each other and they exchanged hugs amidst all the happiness. In the Visiting Room, there were three Parents (two mothers and a father) who were accompanied by two of their friends from the Women Section of the Prison, and the visit was conducted in the presence of the Orderly Officer. The Children updated their Parents on what was happening at home and at school: it was such a lovely scene that the WOH Staff Members were engrossed in it.
The Parents later served a lovely meal (lunch) to their Children and the Staff; they said that they were very happy to see their visitors (their Children and us) and were very grateful to the entire Team of WOHM especially the founders that is, Mr. and Mrs. Ssuubi for the Ministry that they are doing. Miss Bernadette guided the Parents through the Education Progress of their Children; the Parents encouraged their Children to continue leaning and trusting God for everything especially wisdom and they also thanked the entire Teaching Staff for the great work they are doing of teaching and looking after their Children. The Parents delivered eatables which they had prepared to their Children and accompanied by the WOH Staff, they all headed for the checking point.
The Parents that is, the Mothers were allowed to continue interacting with their Children outside the checking point with the supervision of one of the Prison Wardens while the male inmate, a father of two of the Children was taken back to the Male Section after bidding farewell to his children and WOH Staff; he thanked the entire WOH Staff for the visit and wished them a safe journey.
One of the friends to the Mothers led the visitors (that is, children and WOH Staff) through a wonderful prayer session. After, the Parents and their friends exchanged hugs with the Children and the Staff and later bade us farewell. The children were very glad for the Visit and said that they had enough time to chat with their Parents.
We thank God for Vanessa and Chris Nelson who He used to facilitate for this Prison Visit. We thank You all for your prayers and support.
We are so grateful to the lord who enabled us have a successful visit; We thank God for His Provision and Journey Mercies and also for the wonderful experience; it is always a delightful moment to see Children with a Parent in Prison visit their Parents, the excitement is indescribable! Words may not fully describe it because one has to witness these visits to understand their importance.